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Compost bins can come in all shapes and sizes and by the time you're done reading this guide you just might have enough information to come up with some kind of worm farming bin of your own.
Although, I'm sure by now your squirming to get started, but you might want to consider a few options first so you'll know what best fits your needs.
It's always been said, that as easy as it is to start worm bins, these small scale bins are actually the hardest.
In the event that there's some kind of imbalance there is little room for the worms to go. The compost bins like the DIY worm bin made out of plastic, although cheap, make your worms just a little harder to take care of than a pet rock.
With that being said, I want to go over some basics that are important for all worm composting bins.
Bedding, Bedding, and more bedding. This is probably the most important of all inside the worm composting bins.
Bedding can make or break the farm.
It increases air flow. It provides plenty of carbon rich supplements. It helps soak up nitrogen rich acids and brings a good balance to the system. It also helps to hold in moisture and last but not least, increases your cocoon production.
Remember, when adding the bedding to your composting bins think of materials that are spongy and porous like peat moss, straw, and corrugated cardboard (no glossy cardboard). I believe the browner (more organic) the cardboard is, the better it is for the worms.
Stay away from bleached/processed whites only if you can and don't forget that you cannot add too much bedding. This keeps it aerated and allows plenty of oxygen to flow throughout your worm composting bins.
Many, of what I consider "greens", is a good nitrogen source. Omit of course, the ones we discussed in the feeding section of the book. Always throw in your greens in moderate amounts to avoid high acidic or thermophylic conditions.
You shouldn't have to add very much or any water at all to the system, depending on how wet your greens are. I've told you that worm bins do not stink if properly taken care of, but don't put too much broccoli in as this normally has a strong odor. However, if you cover it up pretty good and leave it alone for a while, then you can determine how much to put in each time.
#3 Aeration, moisture, and drainage
These all kind of go together and depend heavily on gravity, evaporation and the worms ability to move around in the bedding.
If water isn't properly draining, then the moisture percentage will rise. If oxygen can't get in, then the bin will become too moist and anaerobic. On the other hand, if it becomes too dry then the food source may dry up along with your worms.
The worms may also go into a hibernation or in search for another food source. You'll find out that keeping it moist is much easier than getting it too dry.
Adequate ventilation is a must at all times. As gas is emitted from the top of the compost oxygen is sucked in from the bottom. Be sure to put your holes in the right places. Worms themselves are great aerators and they'll help you out whenever possible. Keep in mind the damp sponge theory.
Watch my 10 min video on the DIY plastic worm bin and feeding worms.
Remember, if you don't have the perfect conditions for your worms don't be overly concerned. Sometimes they'll move completely out of the food source and cling to the walls of the worm bins.
Worms are somewhat migratory. They'll just move to a section of the bin that they feel comfortable with then move back into the bedding when conditions are right. You'll get the hang of it pretty quick and when you feel comfortable and you'll stop checking on them so much .
I've had worm bins that I haven't maintained for a couple of months before and when I lifted the lid, it was business as usual. I'm sure I could have left it for longer, but most of the time I miss my worms and end up lifting the bin every other day to let them know I care. I know...I'm crazy! But you'll learn to love your little poopers too.
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